FAIR Data Spaces

Building a joint cloud-based data space for industry and science


The FAIR Data Spaces project aims to build a common cloud-based data space for business and science by merging the two initiatives "Gaia-X" and "National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI)". "FAIR" stands for the guiding principles for the responsible management of research data. According to these principles, research data should be findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. The project aims to identify and exploit synergies between the two initiatives Gaia-X and NFDI and to bring the two initiatives closer together in terms of content. The project also aims to promote and demonstrate the sovereign exchange of data between industry and science at both national and European level in concrete applications and fields of work. For a wide range of actors, especially from the economy, added values can be created and demonstrated through the exchange of data.



The challenge

National and European strategies and initiatives aim to enable the exchange of data between companies and with science in a sovereign and data protection-compliant manner. With its data strategy, the German government wants to increase and secure the innovative capacity of the economy on the one hand and strengthen Germany as a centre of science on the other. In addition to the Gaia-X initiative and the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI), targeted measures to promote the sharing of research data are also central components of this strategy. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is also addressing the digital transformation in the sciences and researching fields of action to shape it. The accessibility of research data according to the FAIR principles is emphasised as a key design feature.


Our contribution 

In the project, we contribute to intensifying the contacts between the Gaia-X initiative and the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) in order to create a common vision, define uniform goals and identify deployment scenarios as well as requirements. Furthermore, we will establish the relationship between the Gaia-X and NFDI architectures. In the process, we first create an initial architecture concept, which is continuously developed into a reference architecture model. Within Gaia-X, we create domain-specific extensions specifically for research data and service offerings. In order to enable the evaluation of the conformity of data with the FAIR principles, the Fraunhofer ISST is also significantly involved in the development of FAIR validation services, based on findings from the International Data Spaces (IDS). We also use our large network in business practice to strengthen the involvement of industry and test demonstrators. To this end, the Fraunhofer ISST takes care of the implementation and handling of tenders. Throughout the entire project, Fraunhofer ISST also manages the project to monitor the project plan and to ensure communication within the consortium and with the funding body.



In the FAIR Data Spaces project, a common cloud-based data space is being created in which industry and science share research data in a self-determined manner that complies with data protection law, under the guiding principles of responsible data management. These guiding principles ensure that data is made available in a way that is findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. Beyond the duration of the project, the FAIR Data Space is intended to lay a foundation for the exchange of research data and its analysis possibilities between industry and science.



  • Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering ISST
  • National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) e.V.
  • Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU)
  • Technical Information Library (TIB)
  • University of Cologne (UzK)
  • University of Leipzig (UL)
  • RWTH Aachen University
  • FIZ Karlsruhe - Leibniz Institute for Information Infrastructure GmbH
  • University of Heidelberg - Heidelberg University Hospital (UKHD)
  • Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen (EKUT)
  • Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (HAdW)
  • European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)
  • Philipps University Marburg (UMR)
  • University of Münster (WWU)
  • ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
  • Atos Information Technology GmbH



  • Sponsor: Federal Ministry of Education and Research - BMBF
  • Funding code: FAIRDS05
  • Duration: 05/2021-05/2024


The project on the web